If you are taking Truvada or another antiretroviral drug with the same active ingredients, you might wonder what the health risks of Truvada are. Antiretroviral drugs used to treat and prevent HIV, such as Truvada, can come with significant health risks and potentially life-threatening side effects.
Truvada, while it cannot cure HIV, works by reducing the amount of virus in the body. This helps the immune system to function and fight off diseases. Truvada can also prevent an HIV infection in risk groups, for example, those who have an HIV-positive sex partner. While many patients might be taking the drug without major health effects, side effects from Truvada can be severe, especially in those taking the drug for long periods.
Common Mild Side Effects of Truvada
According to the manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Truvada clinical trials revealed common side effects, including headaches in 7% of users, abdominal pain in 4%, and weight loss in 3% of clinical trial participants.
According to Stanford Health Care, those using Truvada can also experience nausea, vomiting, and rash. Some individuals may develop joint pain, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. For many individuals looking for a prophylactic medication that provides protection from an HIV infection, minor side effects are acceptable. When a patient uses Truvada correctly for prophylaxis, as a so-called PrEP, they may have up to 90% protection from an HIV infection, according to Stanford Health Care.
While the benefits for those experiencing only mild side effects can be high, Truvada can potentially cause severe health issues in some patients.
Serious Side Effects of Truvada
For a few individuals, the health risks of Truvada may turn out to be considerable. Some of the more serious health effects, particularly in those who take Truvada over long periods, can include:
Worsening of Hepatitis B Infection
If a patient with Hepatitis B infection stops taking the drug, their infection could worsen drastically and immediately. Therefore, those with a Hepatitis B infection should consult their doctor before stopping Truvada.
Kidney failure and other kidney problems can be a serious side effect of Truvada. Acute kidney failure means the kidneys are no longer able to filter waste products from the human body, specifically from the bloodstream. Kidney failure can be fatal, with symptoms including:
- Fluid retention
- Decreased volume of urine
- Trouble breathing
- Excessive tiredness
- Irregular heartbeat
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is a link between Truvada and liver disease. The liver could potentially become enlarged and tender in those taking the medication. Individuals could also develop a condition called “fatty liver.” In some cases, taking Truvada can lead to complete liver failure. Signs and symptoms of liver failure include jaundice, fluid retention, and poor health in general.
Lactic acidosis is a serious and potentially fatal risk of Truvada. The condition occurs when acid builds up in the blood. Liver or kidney failure can cause lactic acidosis. The condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
Bone Loss and Osteoporosis
Bone thinning, loss of bone density, and osteoporosis can be more serious side effects of Truvada. One of Truvada’s active ingredients, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), has been linked to osteoporosis and bone loss. Bone density could be particularly affected in children and adolescents taking the medication, as they are still experiencing active bone growth.
Other Potential Health Problems with Truvada
Other than some of the side effects listed here, those taking Truvada may face other health risks especially if they have pre-existing conditions and are also taking other medication. Drug interactions can occur with over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, and herbal supplements.
Some patients can develop so-called Immune Reconstitution Syndrome (IRIS), which describes various disorders that occur when a patient’s infections get significantly worse after starting an antiretroviral medication.
If you developed any undesirable or serious health effects while taking Truvada, you should speak to your doctor to find out if you could switch to another antiretroviral medication. Similar medications on the market today do not include the highly controversial ingredient TDF.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have taken Truvada and developed any serious side effects such as bone loss, kidney damage, or liver disease, consult with a Truvada lawsuit lawyer. You could potentially file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and recover compensation.
At this time, there are several lawsuits pending against Gilead Sciences, Inc., the maker of Truvada. Plaintiffs allege that the drug maker failed to warn adequately of the severe and potentially life-threatening health risks of the drug. They further assert that the manufacturer held back another medication with fewer side effects in order to fully exploit any profits from Truvada.
If you or a loved one suffered injury due to this potentially unethical practice and had damages, such as medical bills and income losses, talk to us today. We could help you recover your due. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC now for a free consultation at (800) 983-6116.